No, Sony isn’t recording, surveilling, or spying on your PlayStation 4/PlayStation 5 party chats by default. The company now clarifies on the new security feature and what it means for communications.
Sony is rolling out a new security and moderation feature to help curb abuse and harassment. The idea is simple: Gamers in a party can now record up to 20 seconds of a voice chat and send them to Sony via harassment reports. The voice clips add lots more evidence to the reports and will help deter gamers from inappropriate behavior.
Sony confirms that “only the most recent five minutes of a Voice Chat will be available for a player to use for this reporting function.” This means the console is apparently recording the voice chats by default, similar to how the PS4 can automatically record the last 15 minutes of gameplay footage.
The main point is that Sony isn’t actually listening to or monitoring the recorded voice clip content by default. But the PS5 might be recording the conversations by default, or else they wouldn’t be able to be used in the clips.
The clips can be up to 40 seconds, and include a 10 second intro, 20 seconds of the voice chat, and a 10 second outro.
The feature will go live once the PlayStation 5 ships on November 12. No one can opt out of the feature. Any time you’re in a chat with someone who might be recording, you’ll get an on-screen prompt. But the reality is the PS5 apparently is always recording by default.
Once the PS5 console launches, if a PS5 player needs to file a harassment report, they will be able to include up to a 40 second-long Voice Chat clip in their report – 20 seconds of the main conversation with the other player, plus an additional 10 seconds before and after the conversation selection. Only the most recent five minutes of a Voice Chat will be available for a player to use for this reporting function.
These reports can be submitted directly through the PS5 console, and will be sent to our Consumer Experience team for moderation, who will then listen to the recording and take action, if needed. Some submitted reports won’t be valid, and our team will take this as an opportunity to provide guidance and education. There won’t be an option to opt-out of this Voice Chat recording function because we want all users to feel safe when playing with others online, not just those who choose to enable it.